Understanding Adjuncts

Understanding Adjuncts

Posted by Matteo Lahm on 5th Feb 2024

Adjuncts are a type of cereal grains or other fermentable ingredients you can use in your beer. They are typically added to alter the flavor, aroma, and body that come from the base grains and malts. In addition, adjuncts can also be used to alter the color of your beer and/or to increase the alcohol content. They are also responsible for adding additional subtleties.

Some of the most common adjuncts used include corn, wheat, oats, rice, and rye. Corn is the most widely used. It is typically used to lighten the body and add a distinctive sweetness and corn flavor. Wheat is also a popular choice as it adds a light, bready flavor and can also be used to increase your head retention. Oats, on the other hand, add a smooth, creamy texture and nutty flavors. Rice is often used to lighten the body and the color. Finally, rye is used to add a spicy, earthy flavor and a dry finish.Adjuncts can also include fruits and purees but there are some important details to consider. Fresh fruit can have bacteria that can cause spoilage so they can only be used during the boil. Pasteurized purees can be used both during the mash process and during fermentation making them more versatile. While fresh fruit can have a romantic allure, adding them during the boil limits their impact as most of the terpenes that comprise the flavors and aromas boil out. They also can vary in sugar levels and too much might be problematic for your yeast if the levels get too high. Purees are easier to work with because you know the brix levels, they are sterile and you can just add them to your chilled wort prior to fermentation.

Two of the most well-known beers that get the majority of their flavor from adjuncts are Budweiser and Coors Light. Budweiser is a pilsner-style lager beer that is brewed with adjuncts such as corn, rice, and barley malt. The corn and rice are used to lighten the flavor and reduce the cost of producing the beer. The barley malt adds a sweet, malty flavor to the beer. Coors Light is a light lager beer that is brewed with adjuncts such as rice and corn. The rice is used to lighten the flavor, while the corn adds a subtle sweetness and smoothness. Both of these adjuncts are used to reduce the cost of production and give the beer a lighter, more refreshing taste.

Pilsners and Adjuncts:

1. Budweiser—Barley Malt, Corn and Rice

2. Coors Original—Barley Malt, Corn, and Rice

3. Miller Lite—Barley Malt and Corn

4. Pabst Blue Ribbon—Barley Malt and Corn

5. Heineken—Barley Malt, Hops, and Corn

6. Corona Extra—Barley Malt and Rice

7. Sam Adams Boston Lager—Barley Malt and Hallertau Hops

8. Busch—Barley Malt and Corn

9. Michelob Ultra—Barley Malt and Rice

10. Yuengling Traditional Lager—Barley Malt and Hops

Common adjuncts used in ales include fruits, spices, and other malt-based ingredients such as wheat, rye, or oats. Fruits may be added to impart a unique flavor, while spices can give a beer a unique aroma. Additionally, the use of different malt-based adjuncts can lighten the color of an ale and give it a smoother finish.

Ales with Grain Adjuncts:

1. American Pale Ale – Barley, Hops, Wheat

2. Brown Ale – Barley, Hops, Caramel Malt

3. IPA – Barley, Hops, Wheat

4. Stout – Barley, Hops, Roasted Barley

5. Porter – Barley, Hops, Roasted Malt

6. Kölsch – Barley, Hops, Wheat

7. Belgian Ale – Barley, Hops, Candi Sugar

8. Wheat Beer – Barley, Hops, Wheat

9. Blonde Ale – Barley, Hops, Wheat

10. Bitter – Barley, Hops, Crystal Malt

Ales with Fruit Adjuncts:

1. Strawberry Blonde Ale

2. Blueberry Wheat Ale

3. Raspberry Cream Ale

4. Apricot Ale

5. Peach Pale Ale

6. Raspberry Wheat Ale

7. Cherry Stout

8. Pineapple IPA

9. Blackberry Lambic

10. Plum Saison

Adjuncts can be used in stouts and include oats, wheat, chocolate, coffee, nuts, and spices. Oats and wheat can add a silky smooth texture and creamy head to the beer, while chocolate and coffee can add intense flavor and aroma. Nuts and spices can add complexity to the flavor profile.

Stouts and Adjuncts:

1. Guinness Draught Stout – Roasted Barley

2. Left Hand Milk Stout Nitro – Lactose

3. Founders Breakfast Stout – Chocolate, Coffee, Oats

4. Bell’s Kalamazoo Stout – Chocolate, Caramel, Roasted Barley

5. Oskar Blues Ten Fidy Imperial Stout – Chocolate, Caramel

6. Southern Tier Choklat Imperial Stout – Chocolate

7. Stone Imperial Russian Stout – Chocolate, Coffee, Roasted Barley

8. Firestone Walker Velvet Merlin Oatmeal Stout – Oats, Chocolate

9. Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout – Chocolate

10. Deschutes Obsidian Stout – Roasted Barley

Overall, adjuncts are a vital part of the beer making process, and they offer a variety of flavors and characteristics that impart subtlety and nuance. Hopefully this overview gave you a better idea of how adjuncts work and how you can experiment. Good luck! 

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